WhatsApp completes sixth year of end-to-end encryption roll-out

‘The feature is a foundational security technology that protects people’s ability to communicate privately and securely’

Will Cathcart, Head of Meta-owned WhatsApp, tweeted that WhatsApp has completed the sixth year of rolling out an end-to-end encryption feature. The end-to-end encryption prevents any third party, including the communication platform itself, from accessing communication between a sender and the receiver.

The feature is a foundational security technology that protects people’s ability to communicate privately and securely, Cathcart said in his tweet. In a series of tweets, Cathcart wrote that WhatsApp continues to add more security features.

“Last month, we provided an open-source tool for WhatsApp web that verifies browser code that we hope will help other apps, and we have more in store for the year to come!” he wrote.

He shared insights from an independent report on a human rights impact assessment by BSR, a management consulting company, on Meta’s expansion of end-to-end encryption.

Cathcart wrote, “BSR determined the enhanced privacy protections enabled by end-to-end encryption are increasingly relevant for the ability of users to enjoy their human rights given we are living through an age of rising authoritarianism and increasing digital threats.”

The report further cited hostile use of surveillance and spyware, sensitive online communications, and global communication networks are relevant factors requiring end-to-end encryption. Cathcart said that the report helps in viewing end-to-end encryption within the context of human rights. He added that the report examined criticisms of the feature.

Cathcart wrote, “One of the discussions is whether platforms should scan content “pre-encryption” to detect harmful content.”

“End-to-end encryption does not cause or contribute to harm because all the adverse human rights impacts that could be attributed to end-to-end encryption already occur in non-end-to-end encrypted messaging,” the report said.

“The ability for people to communicate privately is a right worth fighting for,” Cathcart said.

The messaging platform is currently working on the ability to create polls in WhatsApp groups, WABetaInfo said. 

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